fly away wreath

Here's what I've been doing lately...
I've got so many craft ideas rattling around in my head and I can't wait to do them all!  Lucky for me, Thad loves art projects and he's so excited to make ornaments and wreaths, cookies and gingerbread.  He is definitely a child after my own heart.

I really wanted to hang a wreath on my mirror this year since it's the first Christmas I've had it.  I was envisioning a white one, but I didn't want to spend a fortune and I wasn't too excited about having to use spray paint, either (which is what I usually resort to when I'm pinching the pennies).  So when I spied a white feather boa while braving a trip to Hobby Lobby with all three kids in tow, I knew it would be perfect.

What I used to make it:
White feather boa
White wire hanger
White trash ties
How I made it:
I untwisted the wire hanger and formed a circle, twisting the ends back together with wire pinchers. Then I wrapped the boa around the wire, fastening it in several places with white trash ties.  I looped a purple ribbon around it and fastened it on the nail behind my mirror.  I ended up spray painting some twigs we collected on our walk and put them in a silver planter filled with rocks from our gravel driveway.  (The planter was spray painted last year).  Really, spray paint can be a wonderful thing when it comes to decorating on the cheap!
I love my wreath.  Now I just have to think of what to do for the front door...

P.S.  I'm starting a Christmas Link-up on Tuesdays beginning this Tuesday!  I'm just so excited for us all to share the joy of Jesus with each other this year.  You can read more about it in the post below and the button is in the side bar.
This Tuesday I'll be sharing on the Sights of Christmas and how to visually enjoy Jesus this season.
Here's what the button looks like:


this is Good News

The Holidays, those Holy Days of Cheer, have been ushered in with excitement over here. 
I love Christmas.  In no small way.  
In fact, if I had my way, we would have a tree all year round and Christmas lights would never be taken down.  Something miraculous happens when we allow ourselves to get caught up in the spirit of Christmas, to let the Good News of Christ Jesus seep into our hearts and into our homes.  Because it is, after all, very GOOD NEWS!  In the words of the angel that brought the message to the shepherds on that wonderful night, 
"I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." {Luke 9:10-11}
A Savior.  The One who rescued us from certain death.  The One who delivered us from darkness and overwhelming defeat.  The One who gave Himself for us that we might have great joy!
Is there any better reason to celebrate?
This Christmas, I get to participate in the single most important birthday party.  The birth of My Savior, My King Eternal.
And I want it to be special.
I want to show Jesus just how thankful I am for His amazing love.  I want my home to overflow with love and appreciation for who He is to me.

Christmas in our home has always been known as the Birthday Party for Jesus.  When Mimi and Papa D. came to our house today we celebrated with joyful expectancy of all this season means to us.  We strung up our lights and feasted on Mimi's delectable crab cakes.  We put up a tree while humming to the tunes of Christmas and with the sticky taste of candy canes on little cheeks that begged to be kissed.  Later, when all the lights were up, Thad's face broke into a gleaming smile and he gushed, "Jesus will love it!"
That's what Christmas is all about after all, isn't it?
Loving Jesus and blessing His heart.

I'm starting a little Christmas meme over here because I want to hear all about your celebrations!  Every Tuesday until Christmas, I'll give you an opportunity to link up and share with us anything you want to about how you are celebrating the birth of Jesus.  I've made a button that you can copy the code for and paste in the Edit HTML of your blog post.  Then simply click on your post when it is published on your blog and copy the address that shows in your address bar.  This is the address you will copy into the Link-up that will be at the bottom of my post on Tuesday.  You can share a craft project, a family tradition, a special memory, or even a recipe.  Just tell us the simple ways you enjoy Jesus during this season of worship.  I will be giving a more specific theme (within the one of celebrating Jesus) for each week, but it is only for inspiration.  The themes will be on how to use our five senses to glorify our Lord Jesus.
For example, here is the list for each Tuesday:
Dec. 1     {The Sights of Christmas}
Dec. 8     {The Sounds of Christmas}
Dec. 15   {The Tastes and Smells of Christmas}
Dec. 22   {The Touch of Christmas}
It's all about sharing the joy of Jesus this season and being inspired to love Him even more!


giving thanks.

Lately, I see it everywhere.

And it's truly wonderful.

Giving Thanks.
It's breathing in crisp morning air after a night of lost sleep and feeling rejuvenated...

Counting change to buy groceries and realizing you have a little more than "just enough"...

Piling yet another load of laundry onto an already immense mountain of clothing...

At least three pairs of muddy shoes on the back porch and still no bare feet...

Dirty dishes in the sink, little hands leaving smudges, little hearts yours to fill...

Waking up too early and falling asleep with wee ones snuggled close under fuzzy blankets...

Uncertain what tomorrow will bring, but knowing there will always be enough...

Because everyday it is the same--God is faithful and unchanging...

His hands held out in invitation...a dance with Him as thanks is given.

**And oh! what fun!  I am featured on Tip Junkie today!


apple cider pancakes

I am thankful for...
apple cider pancakes

favorite pancake batter (mine is Pioneer Brand)
1 1/2 pkg. spiced apple cider instant drink mix (if making 6-8 pancakes)
1 1/2 c. thinly sliced and roughly diced apples
1/4 tsp.cinnamon

Top with apples, whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of syrup.

Diclaimer:  I am not a chef.  In fact, I didn't even know how to cook an egg when I got married.  So, coming up with recipes is not something I generally do  (I'm lucky if it comes out well even after I follow the directions!)  I put this together this morning and I enjoyed it, but it is no gourmet meal. : )


the art of our thankfulness

I haven't been much into decorating for fall this year...I guess I'm just too excited for it to be over and CHRISTMAS to be here!  I can't wait to start decorating for Christmas... untangling the lights to the sound of Jingle Bells blaring over the radio while the fragrance of cinnamon and cloves steeping in freshly brewed apple cider weaves through the air....mmmmmm.  Now, that inspires me!  I've caught myself thinking "Why can't we just skip Thanksgiving?  Why do we have to wait to put up Christmas decorations until after the last slice of turkey has been scraped off the plate?"  Well, I immediately realized what a ridiculous thought that was!  Thanksgiving and Christmas go hand in hand. One prepares our hearts for the other.  It wouldn't be right to have Christmas without Thanksgiving.  I truly do want the spirit of Thankfulness to permeate our home this year.  I want to capture the essence of being grateful for all the Lord has blessed us with.

So, Thad and I came up with an idea.  We made a list  of all the things we thank God for and then we found pictures in our photo archives that matched our list.  There was a whole lot more on our list than I had pictures to match, but it was a great way to get my Little Man involved.  I wanted to display the pictures in a place that would be easy to see and in an arrangement that could last all year round as a continual reminder of all the things we have to be thankful for.  I thought a photo collage would be perfect!

How we made it...

1}  I edited most of the pictures into black and white and made a thin white border as a frame.
2}  I found white string and adorable decorative pin tacks at wal-mart.  I also bought miniature craft clothespins.

3}  We strung 'em up on the wall above our sofa in the upstairs family room...and voila!

Our Thankfulness in Photos...

For more home decorating, visit my Bargain Decorating Files


what i love

I love etsy.

I have been avoiding it lately because it's a wee bit addictive to search and sift through the thousands upon thousands of gorgeous goodies.  I'll admit that I am only a lurker and rarely buy.  So far, I've been completely satisfied to window shop and let my creative nature run wild.  I'm constantly thinking, "I could so make this..." and then I remember that I don't even have time to shower and get dressed every day!  Awhile back,  I even created a fun product that I wanted to sell on etsy, but I quickly realized how time consuming it was to make just one and I had to shelf it.  I'm sure they'll be plenty of time for it later--when I'm old and gray and have nothing better to do than sit around knitting and reading books and sipping on eggnog.  And I'm sure then I'll wish I was changing ten diapers a day, kissing away bobos, and rescuing rubber duckies from the toilet...  

Ahhh, this is truly a wonderful life.

My latest etsy love:  a rose cameo "fleur necklace" from pandadcub


feed me

Boston's face says it perfectly, "I'm crabby when I don't eat."

Hmmmm....I wonder if they make this shirt in maternity?

chasing rainbows

Thad has a book we love to read called "Hello, Sun" by Sheila Walsh.

In the story, God sends a little girl a rainbow.  Ever since we read that book, Thad sees rainbows everywhere.  A couple months ago I remember Thad's excited voice ushering me into the next room, "Mom, look!  God sent me a rainbow!"  His little nose was pressed against the windowpane, his eyes filled with wonder and excitement.

Struggling with doubt, I squinted into the afternoon sun, it's molten glow casting rays of color through the flutter of leaves.  I can't exactly say whether or not what I saw was a rainbow.  I do know my heart was touched by his childlike expectancy and I was chagrined by my disbelief.

I want to believe my God still sends rainbows.  I want to believe that He'll send them to me.

I had all but forgotten about rainbow chasing.  The thrill and the joy of asking God to do the impossible, or even something seemingly silly and sentimental.  Nothing we ask is taken lightly by our God.  His answer often appears as a rainbow: a promise, a ray of hope, a spark of love seen by the eyes that linger in the clouds, waiting, searching... expectant.

After all, rainbows are merely glimpses He gives us of Himself.

He is the rainbow I seek.  And He always reveals Himself to those who ask.

"Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD."  Ezekiel 1: 27


lamp love

I buried a lamp yesterday.
It was a beautiful lamp, too.  I didn't think it was breakable (laugh if you will!)  It felt like it was made of fiberglass.  Well, it shattered.  And every one of my children looked as innocent as could be  (even if they were all conveniently sitting where the lamp had been).

So, off we went on the hunt for a lamp that I could buy with my spare change.  I had learned my lesson, or so I thought.  And then I found it.  Covered in layers of dust in a used furniture store, hidden under a hideous and outdated old shade.  It was love at first sight.  Never mind that this one was undeniably breakable and very likely irreplaceable.  Oh well, at least I've never claimed to be practical.  I had saved the modern shade from my former lamp and, with a few tweeks from my own personal hunk of a Hanyman (i.e. My Honey), it fit perfectly.

I hope it lasts!  But, honestly, if it doesn't, I won't be out more than a few dollars.  Who knows?  Maybe I could get my Handyman to super glue it to the coffe table...or is that a bit tacky?


autumn beauty

I couldn't resist adding this picture of Sarah into the I Heart Faces photo fun!  Here's for an "Autumn Beauty".

I'm used to the North, where Fall creeps in on a wind and a whim and goes out in a blaze of glory. Down here in the boot, where it's green all year round, fall is much more subtle.  In color as well as temperature!


 I am in no way a professional photographer (as if that needed any clarification!).  But I do love photography.  It's something I've always wanted to develop a skill for.  Just the thought of capturing beautiful moments in time has me enthralled.  Photography is such an enchanting art form.  And of course what mommy doesn't want breathtaking photos of her darlings?  In the art of "picture taking", however, I have A LOT to learn.  I own a novice SLR camera that could be a tad bit better if I really knew how to use it and I have never purchased a software editing program.  Right now, I'm contentedly addicted to free programs like picnik and photobucket  (why waste time lamenting what I can't afford, anyway, right?)  But I won't deny that it would be wonderful to one day learn to navigate the fantastic world of adobe photoshop!

All that said, yesterday I had an impromptu novice photo session with my darling sister-in-love Sarah.  Neither of us planned it, but it ended up being a blast.  My sisters-in-love Beth and Sarah are both absolutely gorgeous, fashion savvy ladies that are genuinely as beautiful inside as they are on the outside.    I had forgotten how much FUN it is to take pictures of a NON-MOVING subject!  My kids are constantly on the move and the perfect picture takes many, many, many trials and errors!

So, here is Sarah who really does know how to play the guitar and has a lovely voice as well...

And I just had to snap a picture of my amazingly beautiful sister-in-love, Beth, with Astair...
I don't know which is more fun--taking the pictures or editing them!  As amateur as I may be, I'm still blissfully addicted to photography.


not about me

I started fretting.  And getting anxious.  Dreams were passing me by, floating just out of my reach and taking my heart with them.

Had God forgotten about me?  Was He passing me by, too?  I thought my dreams were important to Him.  Hadn't He promised me the desires of my heart?

I laid all this and more out on my messy kitchen table.  With my head in my hands I let my selfish tears flow.  I needed to know.  I needed the reassurance of my Father.

He was as gentle as He always is.  And yet His question was persistent.

"Am I more important to you than your dreams?"

I knew what God was asking and I knew what the answer would be.  In His own compassionate way, He was reminding me that this life I live is not about me.  I was clinging to my dreams instead of to His will.  I had my own ideas of how things should work out, what I wanted living for Him to look like.  It was just a matter of time, I thought, until God will bring my dreams to pass.  And although I know my dreams ARE important to God, what if He has other plans?

I had to let them go.  I had to choose again to let Jesus fill my soul.  His dreams must become my own.  And I am remembering just how incredible it is to dream God's dreams.  They are more, so much more than even I dare to imagine.

This life I live is not about me and I hope that it never will be.
It's about the overwhelming, life-changing, all-encompassing love of my Jesus that dares to make the ordinary into the extraordinary, the impossible possible, and is changing the world one mended heart at a time.

Use me as you will, Father, use me as you will!


for the children

My baby boy is not so little anymore.
Boston has been sporting a mullet since birth.  But I haven't been able to bring myself to cut it.  Not since  this weekend.  There's something about that first haircut that signifies the transition from babyhood to toddlerhood.  And why is it so hard for this mommy to let her babies grow up?  Well, I couln't resist just trimming it up a bit, and then a bit became a little bit more until my baby boy grew up right before my eyes.   Ahhh, he's a heart throb, he is.

And just in case you thought I might have been exaggerating about Astair's affinity for shoes...

Not only did she put these pink steel toed boots on all by herself, but she found them in a box I was going to put in the attic because they're four sizes too big!  The girl has a shoe radar.

Because this post is a random post, I just have to add Thad's most quotable quote:

"Mommy, I'm going to play my music sooo loud--like a soaking wet buffalo!"  (?!)

Kids really are amazing.  I couldn't imagine life without them.  I wouldn't want to.
There are times like tonight when I'm so exhausted I can barely type and I still have dirty dishes to clean, toys to pick up, and laundry to fold.  There are times I'm completely overwhelmed by the endless needs and demands on my time and my attention and I think this is all I can handle.  "This is it, Lord, I don't think I can be stretched another eighth of an inch."  And then I remember that there are families that long for just one child.  And there are millions of orphan children that long for just someone to love them.  "Lord, these are your blessings.  Give us as many as you choose.  And may we never turn a child away that you may bring to us."  

For my God is a "Father of orphans, champion of widows, is God in his holy house.  God makes homes for the homeless..." (Psalm 68:6 MSG)  This is the heart of my God.  He has adopted us.  How could we not follow in His footsteps if and when He asks us to?

I have some beautiful blogging friends that are answering His call to open their homes and hearts to children in need of their love.  These families inspire me.  They stretch me.  They exemplify God's hands and God's heart in action.  I'm so moved by their steps of faith.  Because it takes a lot of faith.  Adoption does come with a price.  There are fees that must be paid, studies to complete.  But their faith that God will provide the funds is a wonderful testimony of His provision in the instance of our obedience.  And His provision often comes through His people.  We have an opportunity to be God's hands as well.  If you feel led to give to these families, I will be adding their links in my sidebar.  Pray for them and the precious children God will bring to them!

Lauren and her husband at Living by Faith are adopting a little boy from Ethiopa!

You can purchase coffee here and proceeds will go to their adoption!

Amy and her family at Filled With Praise are also adopting a son from Ethiopa and there are many fundraising opportunities available.  You can purchase these wonderful christmas ornaments to go towards their adoption as well.

I'm so excited for these families and especially for the children that will now have loving homes!  I can only imagine how God must feel!!


to you

picture taken one year ago by dear friend christa carmel

I love the fact that you...
never complain that we have too many kids, too soon, too close together, and that life is too chaotic.
And you're not even opposed to God giving us more.  Amazing.
(after reading this you assured me you were definitely not opposed to making more)

You spend every moment with your kids, a constant source of entertainment.
They think you're hillarious.
I do too.

I love the fact that you...
are as honest as the day is long.
Even when it is hard sometimes to know whether you're joking or not.

You will drive all the way to the movie theatre for movie popcorn and claim your pregnant wife was having cravings...
while it's the same every pregnancy--you're the one with the cravings!

I love the fact that you...
Are an original.
And not afraid to be less than perfect.
But always willing to let God mold you.

Thank you for loving us as completely as you do.
In case you haven't noticed, we're crazy about you too.


week ends

 My Honey and I took all the kids to the Ponchatoula Antique Festival this weekend.  I loved strolling through the booths and digging through the piles of treasure.  I was looking for vintage children's books that I could use as art work in the kid's rooms.  I didn't find any this time, but I did see the most wonderful wooden rocking horse!  I had to pass it up, though, because I could just imagine my kids jumping on it and literally smashing it to pieces.  Sigh.  Sometimes I have to force myself to be practical, as painful as that is.

I fell in love with an old rustic iron patio set from the 50's.  It was a perfect background for pictures!  I could just see all three of my adorable kids sitting on the swing and smiling their perfect little smiles while I clicked away.  Of course, I would have to snap the pictures there, because I could never afford what they were asking for it.  So, I excitedly grabbed all my unsuspecting little ones and proceeded to frantically take pictures.  But, it didn't quite turn out the way I imagined.  The twins staged a dramatic protest and in the end, the only half-way decent picture I got was one I bribed Thaddeus to sit for me.

They had a petting zoo there and the kids went crazy over the bunnies.  Boston kept calling his a kitty and he didn't want to let it go.

Astair loved the baby chicks.

Joel and I still dream of living on a couple acres of land, complete with our own little petting zoo.  I'm sure we'll have it one of these days.  I want my kids to have the kind of childhood freedom that I had.  The room to explore and be wild, while learning responsibility as well.  But for now, I am very content with what I have... and what I don't have!  There are plenty enough responsibilities as it is!


yellow is the color of her shoes

Astair loves shoes.  She begs to wear them, cries when we remove them, and puts on several different ones during the course of a day.  She's even tried to wear more than one pair at the same time!

If she's missing, we can always find her in her closet, sitting atop a pile of shoes.  Nothing makes her happier!  (And we have no idea where she gets this from...ahem) She nearly hyperventilates with joy when she hears me mention the word.

The other day she begged her daddy to put her boots on and she ran around the house wearing nothing but her eskimo boots and a diaper.  Ahhh, yes.

Little girl, you are sweet indeed.
With your rings of curls and dainty feet.
All sugar and spice and all things nice.
All cheery and mellow in slippers of yellow.
My Little girl, you are sweet indeed.



There is definitely something to that old saying, "stop and smell the roses..."

There is something so calming, so inviting and alluring about a rose.
Place it in any room of the house and it changes the entire atmosphere.  It makes its ordinary surroundings somehow feel not so ordinary anymore.

The roses in my front yard are nothing short of a miracle.  They have transformed many a drab day into something to be enjoyed, something to be cherished.
I don't know about you, but when God was handing out green thumbs, He forgot to give me one.
Yep, my thumbs register a "zero" on the green factor.  But you would never know it if you passed by my house.  My yard is lovely.  (All credit goes to my mother-in-love).

And I am so thankful for my roses.  They bloom in abundance.  They are that special kind, that rare breed of roses that grow in harsh conditions (i.e. my pink thumbs).  They are hardy, strong, resilient, yet delicately beautiful.  My roses bloom continually, selflessly.  They share their beauty with the world, unveiling themselves petal by petal, unafraid to be vulnerable. And their aroma fills our hearts.

I know people like that.  Like roses.
And their sweet fragrance reaches all the way to Heaven.
To our Father's heart.

Dear nienie, you are such a rose.


everything I need

In Christ, I have everything I need.

Some days I just need to hear it.  Most days I just need to live it.

"His [God's] divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who has called us by his own glory and goodness." 2 Peter 1: 3

In Christ, I have everything I need.

Then why do I so often feel as though everything I have has been exhausted?

I looked in my pantry just now after a recent run to the grocery store,  and I have everything I need to make my family a healthy and nutritious meal.  All I have to do is open some containers.  Sounds easy enough, right?  God is showing me that my life is much like that.  I have a "spiritual pantry" so to speak.  Jesus has bought all the groceries and overflowed my pantry with the richest of delicacies straight from Heaven's table.  All I have to do is tap into them.

Yet so often I live on crumbs.  Instead of feasting on the Word of God every day, I attempt to live on yesterday's meal.  I want to make the Word of God more of a priority.  The season of life I'm in right now doesn't allow me to spend hours reading the Word, but I can memorize a scripture to dwell on during the day.  I can let my Father fill me with the knowledge of Him.  I can relish His goodness, I can live on His glory.  I can be confidant of the fact that the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in me. (Romans 8: 11)

In Christ, I have everything I need.


I'm makin' a list...

The baby's coming...in only four months!  
I need the "nesting" drive to kick in, that super-mom power to accomplish the impossible in little or no time, because I've got some major rearranging to do.
The guest room upstairs has to become the twins' room and the nursery has to be prepared for the new baby.  And of course I don't want Lil Man to feel left out, so I've planned to add a new theme in his room as well.  I hope to accomplish all of this on a very, very, very tight budget.  This ought to be fun!  I love a decorating challenge!  I just hope I can get it all done before our newest addition arrives.  My track record on finished projects is not very good right now, I'm afraid.  (Here is where I should add a picture of the wall in our master bedroom that is covered only partially by a pattern I started painting over a year ago).  

Maybe I should make a list.  I like making lists.  They're so practical and ideal.  Neat.  Tidy.  But they do have to be followed to really accomplish anything.  This is where I usually run into trouble.  If I can't accomplish task number one, I just skip it.  And so on and so forth until I'm pretty much back to where I started.  That kind of defeats the purpose of a to-do list, now doesn't it?  We-ell, the whole idea of making a list is a sound one, so I guess I should try, try again.

First on my Baby Do List:
Find the inspiration rooms...

Top Left:  Inspiration for twins' room by ooh food.  Top Right:  Idea for nursery by LONDON SOUTHERN BELLE.  Bottom:  Inspiration for Lil Man's room by all edwards.

I'm getting excited.
I already completed task number one!
Yeah!  How hard can this be, right?



Soon we will have:

One little, two little, three little boys!  And one little brown-eyed girl!

The other day at my doctor's appointment I got to hear the most wonderful ryhmn.  My baby's strong heartbeat filled the room and I breathed a sigh of relief!  His cute profile lit up the screen and I can tell already that he is absolutely adorable.

Now the fun begins!  Joel and I love choosing names.  Unusual names.  Not too unusual, but just uncommon enough to be unique.  This little baby is no exception.  We stayed up late brainstorming and laughing at the more eccentric names we came up with.  Hopefully our kids will love their names as much as we do!

They really don't have much of a choice, though, do they?  ^_^


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